Officers union calls for removal of Tallahassee Citizens Police Review Board member
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The local chapter of the Police Benevolent Association is calling for removal of a member of the city of Tallahassee’s Citizens Police Review Board.
In a statement released Thursday morning, PBA Big Bend Chapter President Richard Murphy said CPRB member Taylor Biro brought a coffee mug with a “vitriolic anti-police message” to a CPRB meeting.
“...she immediately abdicated her fiduciary responsibility to serve on the CPRB fairly and without bias towards the police,” Murphy said in calling for Biro’s removal.
When asked about it by WCTV, Biro denied bringing a mug with such a message to a CPRB meeting.
“The story keeps changing and this seems to be a divisive distraction,” Biro said in a statement.
“We support our law enforcement partners who do their jobs diligently,” Commissioner Jack Porter wrote. “We’ve seen a lot of fishy stories coming out of City Hall, and spreading scurrilous rumors about citizen volunteers does nothing to heal our community and bring Tallahassee together,” she said.
The incident was discussed at the Tallahassee City Commission’s October 12 meeting as commissioners heard the CPRB’s 2021 annual report.
“You had a board member who had a cup on the table that said ‘f the police’” said Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox.
“I think we need to look at, colleagues, having some repercussions for those kinds of things because there’s no place for that in what we’re trying to do here in the city of Tallahassee,” Williams-Cox said.
Fellow commissioner Jeremy Matlow pushed back on the idea of removing board members.
“A community police review board should represent all aspects of our community. There are people in our community who think the police can do no wrong who fly blue lives matter flags. There are people in our community that don’t trust the police at all, that would never call the police for help that would never call if they have information about something. All of those perspectives matter,” Matlow said.
“I’m not interested in trying to get to a sanitized board that just regurgitates what we want to hear. We have to hear the good, the bad and the ugly. And I think we have a good structure in place.”
The city commission voted to form the new nine-member review board in September 2020. Members were appointed by city commissioners. Biro was an original member, appointed in January 2021. The board met for the first time in March 2021.
As part of her membership training, she partially completed the TPD Citizens Police Academy, an ethics class and a ride along, according to the review board’s 2021 annual report.
“It is deeply disturbing that respect and professionalism are apparently not reciprocated on the Citizens Police Review Board by some individuals,” the PBA’s Murphy said. “Both our members and the public deserve the same level of fairness and respect that we demonstrate each and every day.”
You can read the full statement from PBA Big Bend Chapter President Richard Murphy below:
“Every day, Tallahassee police officers sacrifice their personal safety, as they work courageously to respond to dangerous situations where public safety is threatened. When we respond to emergencies, we don’t ask the victims of a crime what their political views are. We perform our duties without bias and with the utmost respect and professionalism for our fellow citizens. It is deeply disturbing that respect and professionalism are apparently not reciprocated on the Citizens Police Review Board by some individuals. When CPRB Member Taylor Biro brought a coffee mug to a recent CPRB meeting containing a vitriolic anti-police message, she immediately abdicated her fiduciary responsibility to serve on the CPRB fairly and without bias towards the police. Accordingly, the PBA is calling for the immediate removal of Taylor Biro from the CPRB. Both our members and the public deserve the same level of fairness and respect that we demonstrate each and every day. We also strongly agree with Tallahassee Inspector General Douglas Sutton, who previously called out Biro for a biased opinion column she wrote, which could give a negative impression of the board to Tallahassee Police Officers. The public needs to have faith in our policy makers and the police deserve our policy makers to act fairly and faithfully in return.”
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